RALEIGH – In North Carolina’s Piedmont is the Tuckertown Reservoir, a reservoir on the Yadkin River known for its recreational opportunities and as a vital water resource for North Carolinians.
Next to Tuckertown is the Alcoa game lands of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Almost 80% of North Carolina’s population resides within 100 miles of these game lands.
The Wildlife Commission, Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) and the Conservation Fund have worked with many conservation partners to permanently conserve these game lands for future generations.
This week, the Wildlife Commission announced its purchase of 2,424 acres, including 31 miles of shoreline, along the eastern shore of Tuckertown Reservoir in Davidson and Montgomery counties. With the completion of this acquisition, the Wildlife Commission also announced the official renaming of these lands to Yadkin River Game Land, to reflect the playground’s proximity to the Yadkin River.
The purchase of the land is imperative to protect the local water quality of the many communities that use Tuckertown as a source of water supply. The water flowing in and out of Tuckertown Reservoir is part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River. The Yadkin-Pee Dee River, one of North Carolina’s longest rivers, provides water to 1.7 million people every day.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment and we thank the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Restoration Program, the North Carolina Land and Water Fund, the Three Rivers Land Trust, the Conservation Fund and all of our funding partners who made it happen. importance of this acquisition. and worked so diligently to make it happen. These lands have provided the public with hunting, fishing and wildlife-related recreation opportunities in Piedmont for over 30 years, ”said Cameron Ingram, Executive Director of the Wildlife Commission. “Conserving these lands for public access, water quality and wildlife habitat aligns perfectly with our agency’s mission to protect our state’s natural resources.”
The announcement comes nearly a year after the transfer of nearly 1,000 acres further downstream to Morrow Mountain State Park under the same license settlement agreement, according to the NCWRC. Together, these lands total nearly 3,500 acres of newly protected land.
“The chance to protect water quality and provide outdoor recreation opportunities on this scale does not often present itself,” said Jeff Michael, assistant secretary for natural resources in the natural and cultural resources department of North Carolina, which includes the North Carolina Land and Water Fund. . “This represents an extraordinary chapter in the history of conservation in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin. I applaud our partners for their bold vision, and on behalf of the NCLWF Board of Directors and staff, we are proud to provide funding to help make this possible.
The time started in 2019 to raise the $ 8.5 million needed to acquire the property for perpetual custody, according to the NCWRC. The Three Rivers Land Trust and the Conservation Fund have worked with the Wildlife Commission to lead the private fundraising effort to ensure these lands remain protected and accessible to the public. This collaborative project brought together federal, state, nonprofit, family foundations, and general private donors, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Restoration Program, NC Land and Water Fund, Rednecheck, Brad Stanback, Jim Cogdell, Ducks Unlimited, Grants for Environmental Improvement Program, Cannon Foundation, Louis Eubanks, F&M Bank, Carolina Bird Club and many other private donors.
“The entire 2,400-acre purchase of land in Tuckertown is a very significant addition to our state hunting grounds,” said Mike Leonard, a representative for the Conservation Fund. “We were particularly interested in the Bald Mountain portion of the property, a hardwood-covered Monadnock Piedmontese mountain that rises 300 feet above the reservoir and the Yadkin River. We are already working with the state on a plan to build a two-mile hiking trail to the top of Bald Mountain, where hikers can walk through tall hardwoods and take in stunning views of the lake and mountains. Uwharrie.
“Completing this project has been a monumental goal of Three Rivers Land Trust since our inception in 1995,” said Travis Morehead, Executive Director of Three Rivers Land Trust. “We are incredibly proud to have worked with the Wildlife Commission and all of our funding partners to ensure the continued conservation of this land and the ability of the public to use it. One of our main tenants in our strategic plan is to connect people to the outdoors and we are proud to say that North Carolinians will have access to these lands for generations to come.
The purchase of the land was made pursuant to the 2007 Yadkin River License Settlement Agreement in which Alcoa offered to the State of North Carolina and / or Three Rivers Land Trust (formerly The Land Trust for Central North Carolina) the possibility of purchasing the land for conservation purposes. In September 2019, phase I of the Alcoa Lands project was completed. Phase I conserved 2,463 acres and 45 miles of shoreline along High Rock Lake. Now, with the closure of Phase II of Tuckertown, this project has conserved over 4,800 acres and 76 miles of shoreline along Yadkin-Pee Dee.